This David Foster Wallace speech (read here, or watch here) is one of the most inspirational things I've ever read.  It's great to be reminded to be mindful, to be aware of those knee-jerk reactions and consider whether or not they're completely off base.

"The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing is gonna come in. Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don't make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I'm gonna be pissed and miserable every time I have to shop. Because my natural default setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me."

On the same topic (making a conscious choice about what and how you'll think), this amazing essay by David Simon talks about missing the point - like if watching The Wire inspires you to bet on who the coolest character is (rather than discuss social injustice and the decay of humanity).  Or talking about a vigilante in Florida without considering the astounding legal precedent being set in the Trayvon v. Zimmerman case...  It's an amazing read, and should get you thinking (and talking).

"A week or month or a year from now, someone else is going to walk up to a fresh victim in Florida or some other state burdened with stand-your-ground absurdity and we’ll have a new body over which to argue. Which is just fine, because does anyone really believe that our instant-assessment, instant-gratification media world  is capable of anything beyond the ad hominem?  Let them begin again and do what they do best:  Which one was the asshole?  Who is the bigger dickhead?  He deserved it.  No, he didn’t.  Which one am I rooting for?  Which one gets my vote?  Who wins?  Who loses?"